Head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media on Monday during his weekly press conference after the team's 23-14 win over Oakland.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on feelings after watching film) "It definitely wasn't any better than it was during the game. It's usually a combination of things and this is no different. First off, we didn't protect well at all, they're pretty good. But you can't give them that much credit, we didn't protect well and I think us not protecting well in some early phases of the game, maybe (QB) David (Carr) lost a little confidence in what we're doing up front. His part of the bargain, when we did protect well, maybe (he'd) get a little antsy and not going through his reads. The two together, they don't mix and we weren't being successful at doing it at all and our football team was functioning in a manner that, 'Hey we can win this game another way.' That's the way we chose to go. There were a combination of reasons of why it wasn't good."
(on what can be done against Tennessee that couldn't be done against Oakland) "We're going to have to be able to throw the ball, that's a fact. I mean, how long has it been since somebody's gotten away with that and won in this league? It's been a long, long time. It doesn't happen very often, we'll have to be balanced. Last time we played these guys we found out right away that if we turn the ball over we don't have much of a chance against them, and that's probably everybody we play. They're playing extremely well. They're probably the hottest team in football right now. And they've beat some dang good football teams, (they're) doing a lot of good stuff. Getting (DT Albert Haynesworth) back here in the past month, to me has been a big part of their football team and probably playing as well with as much confidence as anybody in football."
(on QB Vince Young coming back to hometown) "I know that's going to be a big weekend for that kid and his family because he's so well thought of. And what he did at the University of Texas, that'll go down in history; to be able to win a national championship and play the way that kid played. To grow up maybe five, 10 miles from this stadium and to come in here Sunday that's got to be a tremendous thrill for him and his career, especially the direction he's going and the way he's playing. The job that (head coach) Jeff (Fisher) and Norm (Chow) have done with him, the way their football team is playing says a lot what he's all about and what he's done. I know it'll be a big, big day for him and it should be a great football game."
(on expecting LB DeMeco Ryans to go to the Pro Bowl) "I don't know. We were talking about that earlier today, I don't think you really ever know until you sit down and you start looking at everybody's season and when players and coaches start voting for the Pro Bowl. I think this game's going to help him get a lot of attention because of the sack, the turnovers (and) the interception at the end. The game he just played is one of the best games I've ever seen any defensive player play and he should get a lot of recognition from that. Usually with that recognition players really sit up and notice. It'll be interesting to see what happens."
(on settling QB David Carr from being the center of attention) "I understand that and he understands that, too. I see those things as opportunities. A lot of people see that as pressure because of the things that are being said as we get to this football game, but I see this as an opportunity for David to come back and play well for his team and give his team a chance to win. That's what this league is about, you're going to have rough days and you've got to come back the next week and show that's why you're a player. That you step up and come back and play as good as you can play. And for us to win and for us to have a chance to beat this football team David's going to have to play well and I expect him to come back and do that."
(on working with Carr to overcome habits) "It's tough. I went through this with Brian Griese after (John) Elway retired, we struggled for a year, protecting the quarterback and he got beat up pretty good. He developed some habits that aren't good habits as a quarterback and all of a sudden when it is good you're stuck in those habits. I don't think that has happened this year, I don't see that. I think it did happen a little bit yesterday. As I said, we were very poor protecting in the quarterback early in the game. David took a couple of shots that were just unbelievable, then I think he started to get in a hurry and go through his reads and doing some of those things that he and I talked about this morning. The key is that it's got to go away, he's got to go back this week and do things better. It rears its ugly head sort of speak, but you've got to stop it and you've got to fix it and go back and play. Like I said the biggest thing I told David today was, 'You've got to come back and play well for us this week for us to have a chance to win. Your football team did a tremendous job of bailing us out offensively because we weren't able to throw the ball. That's a credit to your football team, your special teams and your defense. But this week they may need you to do the same thing for them. So you've got to prepare and get ready to go.'"
(on taking blame for passing game and doing something different this week) "We're going to run our routes and do the things we do. You've got to attack coverage and do those type of things. The Raiders did nothing, they played and they've been good, let's remember, let's give them credit, they've been excellent all year. They played us in three-deep-man free and they come get the quarterback. At home this year they've been exceptional at doing that. They didn't do anything different, but they did a good job of making us get rid of the ball quick and we talk about trying to stretch the field and do some things like that, that football team was not going to let us do that. We had to pull in a rein, sort of speak, and find a way to win and that's what we try to do."
(on a non-injury scenario where Carr would leave game) "David's not going to leave the game. He's going to play and when he goes through stints like that, he's got to play through them for us and our organization and our football team. He's got to work through that and find a way to work through it and make it better. As tough as that was yesterday, I know being a quarterback to sit there and stare at the scoreboard for a half and know that you have negative yards throwing the football and the way you struggle, but your football team's got a chance to win you still got to go out there and engineer your football team. Unselfishly he did that and made sure that things worked out at the end."
(on running game change between halves) "Probably just the total commitment when we felt like we struggled so bad throwing the ball and our defense was playing so well, (WR) Jerome (Mathis) makes the big kickoff return, they miss a field goal you just feel like, 'You know what? If we don't mess this thing up we're going to find a way to win.' And that just became a total commitment to running the ball and (K) Kris (Brown) knocking those three (field goals) through there. But we're playing great defense and we weren't going to do anything to hurt ourselves."
(on RB Ron Dayne shown flashes but not sustained the performance he showed yesterday) "You're right, that's kind of been his career. I think the thing that's happened here this year when we got Ronnie, Ronnie was not healthy, in all honesty. He had turf toe, coming off the turf toe, he missed training camp, it took some time for him to get healthy. We probably threw him in there too fast, he told me he's felt as good as he's felt all year going into this game, hopefully that holds true. He's also a big body and when a defense gets a little tired at the end of a game he's a tough guy to tackle so I think that's got a lot to do with it. When you look at him when he was successful with us at Denver it was in the second half running the ball. That's what happened yesterday."
(on Dayne starting this week) "No, we'll play Wali (Lundy). We'll play Wali and him. As I told you I'm going to get Chris (Taylor) involved here at some point real quick, may be this week."
(on giving Dayne 40 carries) "I should have yesterday. We're going to play them both (Dayne and Lundy). Does he deserve more opportunities to get carries? Yes, but I think Wali's done some good stuff, he's played well. I don't think we know today which one's going to run better, they're just two different type of players and we'll keep playing them both."
(on Tennessee's lowest rated defense) "Those are numbers of given up yards. They've struggled a little early in the season. If you look at, we talk about them being one of the hottest teams in football right now and I think they've started to play very good on the defensive side of the ball. I think one of the big reasons for that is 92 (DT Albert Haynesworth) came back and when he's inside he demands a lot of attention. They played very good the last month, the last five games and as long as he's in there they're very tough to run the football against and very tough to protect against so I think it's going to be different."
(on what he likes about QB Vince Young) "I think the things that he's doing right now that's exceptional is (he's) playing off-schedule. He's making plays, third-and-eight, third-and-nine, and yesterday actually I watched a little bit of the game right before we went out on the field it was on in our locker room so I saw a few of the plays. He's bailed their team out of some situations, everybody's coverage takes off and (he) gets a first down. I think probably the most impressive thing to me is his poise. He's like any young player, he's made some mistakes, but he's got his team in position to win at the end of the game. That's what he's capable of doing and they're playing with a lot of energy right now and I think that has a lot to do with him."
(on whether he feels like winning this game could end some of the draft criticism) "Well, I don't want to go there. It's another football game. And is it important? Yeah, I understand that, and I understand how it's being built up from that standpoint of (Titans QB) Vince (Young) coming home and us choosing as an organization to go in the direction that we wanted to go. I understand all of those things, but the bottom line when we kickoff Sunday: it's another football game. It's a division opponent. It's another opportunity for us to get better, and we've got to continue to get better. And our quarterback's got to get better for our franchise to continue to grow. And so it is a big game for (QB) David (Carr), but all these last four are big for David."
(on what he told WR Jerome Mathis after he struggled on his first kick return) "I just hollered at him a little bit about the mistake that he made. But the thing I liked about him, and I didn't know this, I've been told how competitive he is from (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) and various people within the football team, but I haven't really be around him much as a player. And I got after him a little bit about the mistake he made. He really just looked me in the eyes and said, 'Coach, I messed up, but I want the ball back.' And actually, he was mad at the end of the game on the punt return when we ran the fake reverse he wanted us to run the reverse. We had both of them in and he was mad because Joe called for the fake and he was the bait. He wanted the ball again, so you want kids like that. You want kids that want to make the plays."
(on why he was upset with Carr after the reverse play to WR Andre Johnson) "Well, you know what, in all honesty it wasn't fair. That's my fault. We gave him a scenario basically where we called a run, it'd be hard for me to explain to you, and if we saw something defensively then we were checking to a reverse. The look he saw, the way he was coached, he did the right thing to run the reverse. Now that I can sit him down and show him how wide the sam linebackers is, he would not have done that. But the way he was coached going into that game, without giving away too much information, he made the call that he was coached to make. That's on us; that's on me."
(on the importance of these last four games) "Well, it's important to everybody's future here and the direction that we're heading. I told our team last week, I asked them, 'How important are our last five football games?' And I told them that when you look at snaps you take about 70 offensive or defensive snaps a game and about 25 special teams snaps. And I told them those 350 snaps we're going to take and those 125 snaps we're going to take on special teams to me are as big as snaps have ever been taken in this organization. We have got to get a lot accomplished. We have to find out about a lot of people and that includes a lot of young players. And you know when you look at yesterday and you look at how disappoint throwing the football was, we found out about a lot of guys. We found out that our guys will find a way to win even when it wasn't very pretty. And I think they are all very important."
(on who on the offensive line played well) "I think it'd be hard-pressed to sit there and if I had all of them sitting right here for any of them to tell you that we were real good in the pass protection. The guy that struggled the most was (T) Eric (Winston). He had the best player on him, a Pro Bowl player, and Eric's a rookie. He'd be the first one to tell you that he had a rough day out there against that guy. But collectively as a group we did not protect David well."
(on whether there was good run blocking) "Well, we did in the second half, you know. When we mustered it up and found a way to run the football there at the end of the third quarter and the fourth quarter. Everybody did a pretty good job in that scenario. That's a credit to them because sometimes when things aren't going well for you and you're struggling to find a way and still muster it up and get it done, I felt good about those guys that they were able to do that. You know you're still going to have to stare at the end of the game and say, 'Well we only did this offensively or that,' but still you found a way to win and a lot of times that is hard to find. That's a test of their character."
(on whether he worries about T Eric Winston's confidence level) "I don't see Eric (Winston) as that type of kid. I don't think he swings very much. He's a pretty even-keeled kid, works very hard, loves to play. He knows that was not his best effort, and he knows everybody's looking at that. And he's got one this week that's just as good and has been just as successful. So Eric will have to play well for us. Eric did play against them a little bit the first time we played them. So hopefully that helps him. But his development is a key in what we're doing."
(on whether the criticism surprises him after a win) "I understand that. Heck, I'm no different. I feel great about winning the football game, but I'm up there today knowing that we're not going to get very far if we have those type of days throwing the ball in this league. Regardless of injuries or whatever the scenario is; so it has got to get fixed. We have to take a hard look at that. We have to be proud of the fact that we were able to overcome a lot of things, but that area has got to get addressed and get fixed for us to develop."
(on whether Vince Young was ever considered after Carr signed his extension) "No, once we made our decision that we were going to work with (QB) David (Carr) and work with the quarterback that we had, we knew that we weren't going to draft one. So our decision at that time was strictly between (RB) Reggie (Bush) and (DE) Mario (Williams)."
(on how tough a game like Sunday is for an offensive coach who is a former QB) "Well, this league is hard regardless of any of those situations. I have been in this league long enough to know there are so many ups and downs with quarterbacks. They go on a hot streak for two or three weeks and everybody thinks they have it figured out and now we go and everything's going to be okay. Then all of a sudden I've seen guys go through a month where nothing's right for them. It's part of being a quarterback and the key is that David continues to come out of these things and grow. That's the key. He and I had a good visit this morning. And my biggest thing to him was, 'David, take a look at what happened yesterday. Your team won; your football team found a way to win. That's got to feel great for you. Now, do you and I have a lot of things we have to fix? You bet.' And does he have to come out of that this week and play extremely well? In my opinion, yes, he has to. But if you want to be a great player in this league, you're going to go through that stuff. How you battle through it, how you come back and play is the key. It's like when we went to play the Giants after coming out of Tennessee; the kid played well. Let's give him an opportunity to come back this week. Us, guys upfront, are going to have to help him. We're going to have to protect a lot better, but he's going to have to play a lot better too. So we just have to keep getting better."
(on who else on defense played well) "I think our backend played as good of a football game as they have as far as our zone coverages and doing their jobs and tackling. They were just very consistent. (LB) Morlon Greenwood had an excellent game. I think I've said that to y'all a couple times. He's quietly had a really, really good year around here. He's been a very good player and a consistent player for us. Upfront, (DE) N.D. Kalu, the kid that came in for us, the (DT Cedric) Killings kid came in and played really well for us, the new kid this week did some good things. Our overall effort on defense was excellent. I need to mention a kid that played really well for us on offense. He was a nice surprise. But we started (Vonta) Leach at fullback because (FB) Jameel (Cook) was down. And if you get a chance to look at it, the kid played really, really well. So that was very encouraging. He's fixing to play a lot of football. He had a lot to do with what we ran the football well. So I'm glad you brought that up."
(on DT Lional Dalton's game) "Yeah, he really did (play well). Lional continues to make plays. You know, I could go through them all (the defensive players), but they all stepped up and did some good things. We got a lot of pressure on the quarterback. (Defensive coordinator) Richard (Smith) was very aggressive. Another credit to (LB) DeMeco (Ryans), it seems like the more Richard gives him, the better he handles it. He's handling game plans now and getting guys in the right spot. To ask that much of a rookie, it's really exceptional with the way he's handling it."
(on why the run defense has looked better even with the loss of some starters) "I just think they're adapting to our defensive scheme and what Richard (Smith) wants. I think those guys have a lot of confidence right now, our defensive players. They're young, and I think they sit there and they say, 'You know what, we have a chance to be together for a few years. I see them growing and their attitude and their confidence on the field is getting better and better each week."
(on what kind of fan reaction he expects this weekend) "I'm sure it will be pretty loud, one way or the other, but I know he's (Vince Young) going to have a big crowd here and the kid deserves it. I mean, he's a legend in this town, and he should be with what he did. That'll add a lot of excitement to the football game. And we just have to worry about our end of the bargain and get ready to play."
(on whether there were any injuries in the game) "(DE Jason) Babin (has) a hip-pointer. He'll be day-to-day. Other than that we're fine. Everybody's okay."